July 17, 2017
Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday told a Saudi Arabian news website that the decisions made in Lebanon are not made by Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah but by Iranian Prime Minister Ali Khamenei.
According to an article published about Ya’alon by London’s Arabic daily Elaph, Ya’alon’s term as Defense Minister ended because of the “submarine scandal” in which Israel bought submarines from Germany.
“There’s no such country as Lebanon,” Ya’alon said. “All of the decisions are made by Iran, not by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri or by Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah.”
“If Khamenei wants a war, then Lebanon will go go war, and every Lebanese citizen will suffer from the war, because we will destroy all of their infrastructure.”
Regarding the fact that Iran is building weapons factories in Lebanon, Ya’alon said, “I regret that this made it to the news before the factories were destroyed.”
With regards to Syria’s civil war and its spillover into Israel, he said, “Israel has red lines.” He also denied that Israel had helped Jabhat al-Nusra or any other jihadist groups.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) said at the end of June, “I want to caution the Syrian regime, which encourages Hezbollah and the Iranians to act against Israel. They cannot continue to supply Hezbollah with weapons. We will not hesitate to act if we need to.”
Israel’s relations with the Gulf States, Ya’alon emphasized are “based on mutual interests, and exposing one partnership or another is a decision which has to be made by the countries involved.”
He also said that there are “no sustainable options for an agreement with the Palestinians at this stage, but we can work together on the economy and security situation while strengthening the siege on Hamas.”
“Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is avoiding responsibility,” Ya’alon explained. “He’s afraid to take responsibility. He’s disappointed both the Saudis and Egyptians.”
Last week, senior Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine promised that Hezbollah would “surprise Israel” in any future conflict, and said that Israel’s assessment of Hezbollah’s weaponry is highly inaccurate, despite their prevalent reports on the Lebanese organization’s arsenal.
In response, Liberman said, “We take everything seriously. We are certainly aware of the reports and we will do what needs to be done. This is a significant phenomenon and we cannot ignore it. Precise weapons such as these missiles are a challenge. Compared to past wars they will hit deep inside Israeli territory.”